Resistance to the Persecution Reaches a Tipping Point – a Look Back at 2013
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful resistance to being persecuted in China over the past 14 years has been an unprecedented challenge for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Never before has a group in China sustained such long-lasting resistance, and never in a such a non-violent way.
As the persecution continues and the resistance increases, more and more Chinese people are realizing that it is not a battle between Falun Gong and the CCP, as the CCP propaganda insists. Falun Gong practitioners' truth-clarification efforts have helped them realize that they don't have to be bystanders in the persecution.
As a result, 2013 has seen many opting to secretly assist or release practitioners. More neighbors are stepping forward to call for justice, for the release of practitioners or compensation for their families. More attorneys are representing practitioners despite harassment from local courts. They have also turned the tables and sued the 610 Offices in addition to pleading “not guilty” on behalf of their clients.
After 14 years, the number of Chinese people who understand the facts about the persecution is approaching a critical mass. Falun Gong practitioners have been making a priority of clarifying the truth to those who are carrying out the persecution, because they know that these perpetrators are, in truth, harming themselves when they harass, arrest, torture, and even kill practitioners. The impact of such efforts is becoming more apparent.
Party Secretary Secretly Helps Practitioner
One secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee saw a Falun Gong parade when he visited Hong Kong, and a practitioner talked to him about Falun Gong and the persecution while he was there. After learning what Falun Gong was about, the official quit the CCP and told the practitioner that he would do his best to protect that practitioner from further persecution. As it turns out, this practitioner had lost his job because of the persecution, and this official helped to get him reinstated.
Police Stop Carrying out the Persecution
The Minghui website reported the following story on December 16, 2013. Practitioners from a village in northeast China often study the Falun Dafa teachings together, and one evening someone reported them to the police. The informer called almost ten times before the police finally decided to drive to the village, but they were after the informer instead of the practitioners. The police warned that person not to do it again because it was wrong to profit from doing something so unjust.
In another incident, a practitioner was picked up and taken to a police station. She took the opportunity to tell the officers the facts about Falun Gong. At first the police did not want to listen, but eventually found themselves agreeing with her. A 610 Office representative said, “I got it, ma'am. I know you are innocent. I won't be part of the persecution anymore. I don't want to accumulate bad karma. You haven't had a chance to eat all day. I'll go get you some food.” He promised to release her at 6:00 p.m. that day, and he did.
Two elderly practitioners were reported as they were distributing informational brochures in the countryside on July 31, 2013. Local police arrested them, and the county police were on their way to take over. The practitioners kept telling the local police the benefits of Falun Gong and gave examples of their improved health. After learning the facts, the local police called the county police and said, “Don't bother to come. The practitioners have escaped.” The police then released them.
More Systematic Exposure of the Persecution
New incidents of persecution are reported daily on the Minghui website. As facts about the persecution become more accessible, we are able to provide this information in a more in-depth, comprehensive manner. Available now are summaries of death cases, imprisonments, and general summaries of persecution that took place in 2013:
Summary Report: At Least 76 Practitioners Died in 2013 as a Direct Result of Persecution Summary of Illegal Imprisonments of Falun Gong Practitioners in 2013 Trends and Statistics of Persecution Cases in 2013 (Part 1)
In the first half of 2013, 445 practitioners were sentenced to prison and 186 were taken to brainwashing centers for a total of 631, which was 45 times higher than the number admitted to forced labor camps. Based on data from throughout China, the CCP now sends Falun Gong practitioners to prisons and brainwashing centers instead of forced labor camps, but the persecution has, in essence, not changed.
Tireless and Proactive Efforts to Clarify the Facts
The CCP persecution of Falun Gong was founded on slanderous lies. Grassroots efforts to expose this persecution has been the cornerstone of Falun Gong practitioners' peaceful means of resisting the persecution over the past 14 years.
An 80-year-old practitioner in Hebei Province said, “Practitioners in my Fa study group include the young and the elderly. We help each other with Fa study, cultivation, and truth clarification. Almost every one of us takes to the streets to distribute materials and tell people the true story of Falun Gong in person. About 100 people quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations through us on an average day. Our brochures, DVDs, and amulets come from several material production sites. However, we tend to hand them out fairly quickly, so much so that we're often waiting to receive more materials.
Younger Falun Gong practitioners who are more adept with computers disseminate Freegate, software (distributed on a CD) used to bypass China's heavily-censored Internet, allowing people to learn about the behind-the-scenes persecution happening around them. One practitioner said, “I go door to door in office buildings and approach young people in fast food restaurants, handing out Freegate. Most people thank me and accept the CD.”
In order to help people learn the facts, although practitioners still risk being arrested, they persevere in their efforts. Ms. Deng Liping, a 69-year-old practitioner in Chongqing, went to Xiejiawan Police Station in August 2013, asking for the return of her money and property that the police took when they ransacked her home. The police arrested her and took her to a brainwashing facility. She was released ten days later.
She wrote a truth-clarification letter as soon as she got back home, made several copies, and delivered them to government offices in her community. The authorities arrested her and took her again to another brainwashing session, and didn't release her until October 26. However, Ms. Deng continued to clarify the facts to government offices and advised them to cease aiding and abetting in the persecution.
More Grassroots Support from Fellow Chinese
Falun Gong practitioners' grassroots campaign has touched more and more people, who are angered by the brutality of the persecution and have joined the efforts to rescue innocent practitioners.
Ms. Li Lankui, a practitioner in Dong'an Village, Hebei Province, was arrested in June 2012. Seven hundred people in her community signed a letter requesting her release. The incident was widely reported overseas and was even presented in a U.S. Congressional hearing. The CCP ignored public opinion and continued to imprison Ms. Li. In 2013, more people supported the rescue effort and another three petitions were submitted. A total of 10,955 signatures were collected.
Mr. Pei Wenhai, from Fuzuo Village, Hebei Province, was arrested on April 18, 2013, for telling people about the persecution of Falun Gong. A petition calling for his release has been co-signed by 626 people.
In April 2012 Mr. Hua Lianyou of Tianjin was sentenced to seven years in Binhai Prison for practicing Falun Gong. He went on a hunger strike for over 500 days to protest the persecution. The prison authorities ordered inmates to beat him, and he was force-fed with sharp tubes. Mr. Hua's family called on the public to help rescue him. Within a short time, 2,815 signatures were collected. Despite harassment and threats from the CCP, more and more people signed the petition, totaling 8,048 signatures by November 2013.
As the CCP's crime of forced organ harvesting, especially from living practitioners, gets further exposure, the Chinese people are shocked and enraged by the appalling atrocity. The Minghui website and Epoch Times newspaper reported that 310 people in mainland China signed a petition in mid-December 2013, protesting forced live organ harvesting. Within the next two weeks, another 6,259 people signed similar petitions. The petitions protested the CCP's atrocity of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, and demanded an investigation into the crimes committed by Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, and others who were responsible.
Lawsuits Deter Evildoers
At least 45 practitioners in different provinces sued perpetrators of the persecution in 2013. Doing this in addition to pleading “not guilty” has become an important trend in practitioners' resistance to the persecution. Resorting to legal means serves as an open declaration that they deny this unlawful persecution. Regardless of the outcome of these lawsuits, they have deterred the persecutors to a substantial degree.
Facing an increasing number of lawsuits, the CCP ordered attorneys around the country not to accept Falun Gong cases. However, attorneys still defended Falun Gong practitioners in 2013 and sometimes even became plaintiffs in response to China's law enforcement and judicial entities' illegal conduct.
On December 5, 2013, over 20 people, including four defense attorneys, family, and friends of the practitioners detained in Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center in Heilongjiang Province, gathered outside the center and called out to the center director for an immediate release of the practitioners who were detained.
Chinese authorities in Dalian Xigang District Court tried 13 practitioners on June 21, 2013. Twelve attorneys attended the trial. The authorities had threatened to suspend the defense attorneys' licenses. However, the attorneys insisted on defending the practitioners. Prior to the trial, the attorneys had done extensive work to protest the arrest of practitioners' family members and supporters on April 12. The police dared not arrest any supporter during the trial on June 21.
After the trial recess, the court changed the location and date of the trial in an attempt to convict the 13 practitioners without their attorneys being present. The attorneys protested the violation of legal procedures and refused to honor the changed date. The court was forced to reschedule the trial. The attorneys' strong arguments and powerful protests showed their determination to fight the persecution.
Persecutors are being deterred by such lawsuits. Fearing they would be brought to justice, some prison guards have eased up on their actions and asked Falun Gong practitioners if they would sue them after being released.
With more Chinese people learning of the goodness of Falun Gong, and with growing support from both inside and outside of China to end the persecution, more positive changes are expected this year.